Cowboys: Running Back Position Finally Takes Shape


The Dallas Cowboys went into the 2015 regular season with the wrong ideas at the running back position.

I love being right sometimes.

Way back in July, I predicted that that running back Darren McFadden would end up the starting running back for the Dallas Cowboys. I can’t say that I saw exactly how this scenario would unfold, but to me it was clear that Joseph Randle, for several reasons, wasn’t going to be up to this task.

That brings us to Week 8 of the regular season, just days following the best day for a Cowboys rusher this season, at least in terms of yards gained in a given game.

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McFadden completely ripped the New York Giants defensive front for 152 yards on 29 carries during a 27-20 loss at MetLife Stadium last Sunday.

All he needed was the chance to do what he does.

I think we all knew a year ago that Randle wasn’t exactly the guy to replace DeMarco Murray, even if we had no idea that last season’s leading rusher in the NFL would play elsewhere this season. A guy who steals underwear and cologne from department stores really can’t be taken seriously, can he?

Earlier this year Randle had a domestic issue in Kansas that’s still a complication for the former Oklahoma State running back that’s got more going on in his personal and professional life than anybody may understand. Randle will not be active for Sunday’s game against the two-time defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.

In fact, Randle may not be available for the foreseeable future pending that likely suspension for whatever went down in Wichita.

All in all, the Cowboys running back position has been an area of constant evolution since training camp. Even after the regular season got underway in September, two former Seahawks running backs have been added to the roster, one before the season-ending injury to running back and kick returner Lance Dunbar.

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I would expect to see much more of Christine Michael on Sunday and possibly the debut of power-runner Rod Smith, a 6’3” and 231 pounder who would figure to play a role in any potential victory for the Cowboys on Sunday.

The Cowboys are in better shape at running back than they’ve been since last season. While Randle won’t be around and Dunbar is obviously unable to play, the combination of McFadden, Michael and Smith represent a platoon of complete and physical runners that collectively could mimic the type of results that Murray brought against the league last season – and especially a Seattle defense that was thought to be virtually invincible a home.

Yes, Seattle can obviously be beaten, a fact proven by a shocking 3-4 record nearing the midway point of the season. The way to beat this team is to keep that ‘Legion of Boom’ on the field for as long as possible.

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While the Cowboys still have a minimum of three games to play before starting quarterback Tony Romo is eligible to return from a broken collarbone suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles back on Week 2, it’s encouraging for Cowboys Nation that at least the running back position has finally taken shape for the stretch run.